Going to Belize, but not really for fishing... - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Going to Belize, but not really for fishing...

I'll be going to Belize in late April and will be there for a couple weeks, staying on a sailboat and bumping about off the coast with no particular schedule or agenda. We'll have a couple inflatable kayaks and a dinghy to use if we want to get somewhere specific.

There's just no question that I'm bringing my switch rod. I bought it just before central Alberta froze over and I got a used reel handed down to me for my birthday. Seeing them all wrapped up like that pains me, so I'm bringing them just for some casting practice.

But if there's even a chance that a casual two-handed angler with no salt water experience could run into a fish or two under these circumstances... what sort of water should I be looking for, and what sort of fly should I bring along?

"I was spey casting for sure. Everything else I'm unsure about." ~Mumbles
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 01:10 PM
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I fish Belize quite a bit, in fact will be there just before you at end of March. There is quite a good tarpon run in the deeper channels, especially off the mainland Belize between Ambergris Caye...and they are pretty large. On the other side of Ambergris, and all up and down the coast look for Mangroves; usually are in flats areas around them where youíll find lots of Bones and Permit, as well as Barracuda and some Snook. If you are bringing a stout switch rod, get yourself a floating 40+ or Rio Outbound, with a tarpon leader and Tarpon fly....When you see the migrating fish, cast in front of them and start stripping. When the take your fly, STRIP SET HARD two or three times...a standard rod set will pull the hook out of their mouths. And donít forget to slack your line when the jump, or Itíll come off. Counterintuitive I know, but thatís how you catch a Tarpon. If you hook one of this 100 pounders, expect to be there a while. As far as bones go, a 6 to 8 weight single or a 5-6 weight switch will suffice. Same type of line, with a long leader and appropriate fly in front of a moving pod. Let it settle, then start stripping...they take flies easily. The difficult part for bones, and especially permit is if the boat gets to close, they spook. If you cast 2 feet or more from a tailing fish, theíll ignore the fly. If you cat 6Ē or closer to them , they spook. So accuracy and distance is the challenge. Use lots of backing, a big bone or a Permit will smoke you in no time on those flats cuz they have no where to go but away from you.. Hope this helps..

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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Right on, thank you for your reply.

I'm not sure I've got the stuff for tarpon. I'll be bringing a 5wt 11' TFO pro series switch. Still looking at lines, but the 40+ is on the list to consider. My guess is that I'm more set up for the smaller fish. And anyway, if I hooked into a hundred pound fish, I'd probably crap down both legs of my waders.

Oh yeah, I guess I didn't mention at first that I'll be wading, or at best in an inflatable kayak (but I've never tried to cast from one). I might be able to take the outboard for a couple hours, but I doubt I'll be able to talk anyone into sitting there watching me. Anything I do I'm gonna be doing solo, though likely still within sight of our group.

Is this sort of thing even done, or do most people fish from boats?

Last, what's the fishing license situation down there? The info I saw online wasn't too clear.

Thanks again for your info. Now that I read your reply again, you're probably down there right now... good luck!

"I was spey casting for sure. Everything else I'm unsure about." ~Mumbles
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 09:30 PM
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I'm heading down Apr. 14. The flats around Ambergris and Caulker Caye are muddy and generally not suitable for wading. If you're taking a sailboat out around the islands, you should find hard sand flats that are wadeable. As much as you might want your new switch rod, 9' 4-piece rods are far more practical for travel. A 6 or 7 wt is good for the bonefish -they are pretty small, 1-3 lbs. And 8 wt for permit and a 10 for baby tarpon and good sized snook, also barracuda.

Buy a couple 10' 10# bonefish leaders and a spool of 10# clear stiff tippet. I know the bones are small, but I seem to break fish off on the strike using 8#, and I use 8# tippet for big steelhead. If you target permit, you will appreciate 15# tippet. Make a simple tarpon leader of clear stiff mono (Maxima) - 3' 40#, 2' 30#, 18" 15# class section, then 18" 40# shock tippet - tarpon mouth is like heavy duty sand paper. If you set up for barracuda replace the shock tippet with 1' of wire leader. If you don't tie your own, get an assortment of basic flies from a shop that carries tropical flats flies. There is a shop on Ambergris and at Caulker, but if they aren't on your route, you should bring your own. Gotcha' and spawning shrimp in pinkish tan size 6 and 4 is good for bones. A size 2 or 4 raghead or Merkin crab in pinkish tan and brownish tan is good for permit. Toads in 2/0, black, and purple, and a black death streamer are good tarpon bait.

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